Al Azhar University

Powerful Essays
Topics: Cairo, Egypt, Islam
Al-Azhar University
Brief Description
Al-Azhar University also known as Jamiat Al Azhar al Saif, meaning the noble Azhar, is a center of learning in Cairo, Egypt. It was established as an Islamic Institute or a madrasa in 972 and specialized in offering courses pertaining to the field of Arabic Literature and Sunni theology and sharia. It is regarded as the second oldest University both around the world and in Egypt. It was initially established as the Al Azhar mosque. However, it slowly developed into an Islamic educational institute over the years. Al Azhar’s main aim involves spreading Islamic faith and culture around the world. To this day, Islamic scholars at the institute issue fatwas based on arguments and situations put forward to them from around the Sunni world. These fatwas cover a wide range of topics such as Islamic law, appropriate behavior for individual Muslims, etc.
In 1961, following the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 and the establishment of Gamal Abdel Nasser’s government, Al Azhar started offering programs apart from Islamic subjects such as science, engineering, pharmacy medicine, etc. That same year, a women’s department was also established as part of the university. Today, al-Azhar has positioned itself as a profoundly significant institution in Egypt and around the world.

History
Initially established as a mosque by the Fatimid dynasty, it slowly evolved into a university over the years. Its construction was authorized by the fourth leader of the Fatimid Dynasty, Al-Mu’izz li-Din Allah, in Cairo which at that time was the newly founded capital city of Egypt. It was the first mosque to be constructed in Cairo, and took approximately two years to build. It was completed in the year 972, after which it opened for prayers during the month of Ramadan.

Since the Fatimid dynasty was descendant from Fatima, daughter of the Prophet P.B.U.H., it is widely thought that the university was named after her. Fatima was also known as Az Zahra (the



Bibliography: Zoepf, Katherine (2005). An Ancient Islamic University Has a New Role: Explaining Its Faith. Chronicle of Higher Education. Vol. 51 Issue 49. Retrieved May 5, 2011 Hatina, Meir (Jan2003). Historical Legacy and the Challenge of Modernity in the Middle East: The case of al-Azhar in Egypt. Muslim World, Vol. 93 Issue 1. Retrieved May 5, 2011 Islam For Today. Al Azhar University, Cairo. Retrieved May 7, 2011 from http://www.islamfortoday.com/alazhar.htm Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Al-Azhar University. Retrieved May 6, 2011 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Azhar_University Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Al-Azhar Mosque. Retrieved May 6, 2011 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Azhar_Mosque Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Muslim History. Retrieved May 7, 2011 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muslim_history

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